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“I asked about a Ḥasid, not a ruler”: The Ḥasid as a ruler in the poetry of Rabbi Judah Halevi

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Chapter Summary

Earlier scholars of medieval Jewish poetry and philosophy found links between the Rabbi Judah Halevi's (= Rihal) philosophy and his poetry, and between his poetry and the philosophy of his generation. It is not for nothing that Franz Rosenzweig was interested in the Rihal's poetry; other scholars also turned to the philosophical analysis of various poems of Rihal, comparing the poetry with the philosophy found therein. This chapter examines several of the Rihal's poems in light of the extensive descriptions of the behavior of the ḥasid in the first paragraphs of chapter 3 of the Kuzari. In the beginning of the third chapter of the Kuzari, the king asks the Jewish scholar to describe for him the actions of a pious man, a ḥasid, according to the Jewish view.

Keywords: ḥasid; Jewish poetry; Kuzari; Rabbi Judah Halevi



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